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Identification Offenses

Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Explains: Identification Offenses in Virginia

Virginia law prohibits several acts that constitute identify theft or offenses.  

False ID to Law Enforcement.  Virginia Code Section 19.2-82.1 states:

Any person who falsely identifies himself to a law-enforcement officer with the intent to deceive the law-enforcement officer as to his real identity after having been lawfully detained and after being requested to identify himself by a law-enforcement officer, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

This charge is very common.  When a person is detained on suspicion of criminal activity, or arrested for an offense, he must identify himself truthfully to law enforcement.  If you are not detained or under arrest, you have no obligation to identify your self truthfully or otherwise.  This charge, though a misdemeanor, can have negative consequences because it involves a deceptive motive.  It can also be defended - giving a nickname that you are accustomed to, or stating incorrectly but unintentionally your name, address, birthdate, social security number does not mean you are guilty of this crime.  Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney today if you are charged with False ID to Law Enforcement.

Identity Theft to Avoid Arrest.  Virginia Code Section 18.2-186.3 states, in pertinent part:

It shall be unlawful for any person to use identification documents or identifying information of another person, whether that person is dead or alive, or of a false or fictitious person, to avoid summons, arrest, prosecution, or to impede a criminal investigation.

This offense is punishable as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, though may be punished as a felony in other scenarios involving financial loss or an innocent person being arrested.  This offense occurs in a different scenario than False ID to Law Enforcement, and you may not even be stealing another person's identity notwithstanding the caption of the statute.  When a person is wanted or sought by law enforcement, it is unlawful to provide a false name.  A common scenario occurs when a person knows they have outstanding warrants and they lie to the police about who they are so they are not arrested.  However, the Commonwealth must prove that you knew you were wanted and that you lied to avoid being arrested or that you knew lying about your identity would impede a criminal investigation.  This offense can be difficult for the government to prove because proving one's mental state, unless they confess, is not easy.  Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney today if you are charged with Identity Theft to Avoid Arrest.

Fraudulent Use of Documents.  Virginia Code Section 18.2-204.1 prohibits using birth certificates or other documents in order to establish a false identity or to establish a false status, occupation, membership, or license.  Violation of this section is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, but may be punished as a felony in certain instances involving making the documents or in using the documents to acquire a firearm.  

Possession of Fake ID or License.  Virginia Code Section 18.2-204.2 prohibits possessing a fake license or identification card and is punishable as a Class 2 Misdemeanor, unless you make or sell the fake document in which case the punishment is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  The most common offense scenario involves a college student who possesses a fake ID in order to purchase alcohol.  Although possessing a fake ID in college is unbelievably common, this charge can have negative consequences and a conviction should be avoided to the extent possible.  

If you have been charged with an Identification offense, contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney today.  George Freeman is an experienced and seasoned trial attorney and will gladly meet with you to discuss your case.

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